Thanksgiving: I’ll Bring the beer.

Double Brew Day!

October 30, 2019

Image may contain: Danielle Cockerell Lawson and Jayson Lawson, people smiling, beard and closeup

We’ve had double brew days for mead but this was a first for beer!
First : Prep

We have this big bucket from my dad’s house I figured it would be good for the ice bath later.
Since it was pretty cold outside I filled it up with water and just let it chill while we brewed.
Nothing sends me into a anxiety induced rage like trying to get a carboy clean. lol
Auri – Brew Dog.


Jayson finally got to brew his Chimay Reserve Blue clone. He got it this summer and just now got the time to make it.
He had to do his outside in the cold lol but it didn’t take as long since we have the burner for a turkey fryer that I got from my boss’s daughter.

(I would also like to say I feel bad for not documenting Jayson’s brews the way I do my own. I know he doesn’t like being in front of the camera so I don’t like to bother him. So his will have much less dialogue lol)

“Wow. these smell like steak!”

Cool Down
bucket + his wort chiller


Sweet Potato Casserole Beer. (punny named TBD)
I have been wanting to make beer or mead for Thanksgiving for a couple of years now. I made a small batch of Pecan Pie metheglin, which was tasty, but never got around to making a big batch. Last year while eating dinner I decided that I needed to make a melomel based on my cousin’s cranberry sauce and a beer from my aunt’s sweet potato casserole. Again life got in the way (plus a dash of procrastination) and I never started the mead base for the cranberry sauce melomel, but I’m still considering trying to make it as a beer in time for Christmas. But let’s focus on what we’re doing today.

I knew I wanted the flavor to be forefront rather than the background, so I didn’t want to do it as milk stout (though I’m sure it would be yummy). I went to the ladies in the Homebrew Group for the Beer & Body Craft Beer Girl Gang to see what beer styles they’d recommend. I had sort of been leaning towards a cream ale, but the very first comment peaked my interest.

She said she’d tried a Sweet Potato Pecan Scotch Ale.

I hadn’t even considered a Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy!
But it sounded so go good I ran off to BrewHound and had Chris make me up an extract recipe.

A Wee Heavy is a little bit sweet and have a higher ABV. So they’re perfect for getting through Thanksgiving dinner (I’m kidding, I love my family) Their naturally caramel flavor sounded like it would go perfectly with the other flavors I’d be adding from Aunt Gloria’s casserole recipe.

Without sharing her recipe (though I don’t know if it’s a family secret) other than Sweet Potatoes I will be adding cinnamon sticks, brown sugar and vanilla & pecan extracts.

All of the recipes I found said to bake the sweet potatoes first to let them caramelize. Well our oven only works if it wants to, and it did not, so I improvised and put them in the smoker. I probably should have let them sit longer but I got impatient.

I put 5½-ish lbs into a mesh bag and let it steep with my grains.

This stool stool by the back door of multiple homes.
My dad would put his lunch box and “purse” (a beat up paper sack) on it when he got home from work.
It’s my brew stool now.
My attempt to smash all the extra liquid out of the grains lol
Obligatory ingredients photo (minus the spices and flavor extracts…because I forgot them)
But look at all that malt extract! 9.9lbs

After the steeping was finished I set the bag of potatoes aside so I could put them back in at some point during the boil.
(Unless that seems to have made the flavor more bold, I won’t do that again. The starches clogged the tiny holes in the mesh. The bag filled with wort and I had to cut a hole and just empty it all into the brew kettle…which of course made transfer trickier because the siphon kept getting clogged)

Such a pretty red color

making and changing notes as I went along.
Basty the Chonky Brew Cat stole my stool

almost done!

Both of our recipes require the brews to ferment at about 65°
so they get to share the lager fridge ❤️❤️

Look at all that sediment in my beer.

Transfer Day

November 9, 2019

A couple of days after we brewed we noticed that Jayson’s hadn’t started. So he pitched some champagne yeast that we had in our fridge.

Unfortunately in the 2 days it sat without active yeasties, some other boogery bacteria got in and it got an infection…

Let us have a moment of silence…

Image result for here lies beer"

So, unfortunately, we are moving forward with only one beer.

Since I forgot to add the brown sugar, vanilla & pecan extracts in my primary, I boiled up some brown sugar water. I threw in half a stick of cinnamon. After cooling it down I went to pour it into the carboy, and two drops of water from the bottom of the pan dripped down the funnel. I panicked and threw in some potassium sorbate to kill any rouge beasties.

And then it was just wait and see.


November 28, 2019

I kegged my beer a week ago. It smelled super boozey but had a pretty good flavor, even though it was still flat.
Best of all IT DIDN’T GET INFECTED!!! 🎉

The night before Thanksgiving I did a taste test to make sure it had carbonated. I noticed the cinnamon flavor sort of punched you in the face
(note, do not leave a large cinnamon stick in the primary… you don’t need that much.)
so in my glass I added a dash more of vanilla and pecan extract. This seemed to mellow things out a bit so I went ahead and did the same to the keg (another 1.5 tbs of each)

I didn’t have super high expectations at this point, I was bummed that the cinnamon was so overpowering.

Fast forward.
Everyone that tried my beer at my cousin’s house really liked it. The added extracts did the trick!
My cousin John-Mark came up and was raving about it! First he thought it was a Porter because of the smokey flavor, I told him what style it was and explained that the smoke was because I smoked the sweet potatoes. He said he could taste every flavor as it went across his tongue. I’ve never had someone get so excited about something I’ve brewed.

He has now commissioned a very interesting Porter from me. We threw together a recipe idea based on flavors he likes and went from there. It was a lot of fun throwing around flavor pairs like that and coming up with something weird but that I think could work!

I’ll give you a hint. it’ll be dark (obviously), spicy and a little fruity!

Image result for cross your fingers"

Needless to say I am feeling pretty smug right now! Don’t worry I’ll be humbled eventually I’m sure! I am just really happy with how this turned out.

I hope everyone had a good holiday ❤️🍻


PS. I’m still working on a punny name for this one. Something relating to sweet potatoes and Scotland. Let me know if you come up with something!

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